Heritage Register
James Bay

112 Clarence Street

Built 1910

For: Thomas S. & Margaret B. McLaughlin

Architect: Samuel Maclure

112 Clarence


This is an architect’s shingled version of the Colonial Bungalow, with a bellcast hipped roof and front dormer, and a full-width front verandah that continues a small distance around the left side. The verandah sports handsome paired and tripled Tuscan columns with a subtle entasis, and its ceiling is lined with beaded V-joint T&G. The 1982 photo shows that the house was entirely sided in cedar shingles, including the verandah and stair balustrades, with no string course or waterboard breaking the smooth line of the shingles. However, it has now been stuccoed on the back and most of the sides. All the windows have been changed except the front door and two piano windows in the verandah alcove. The wooden soffits have been replaced with vinyl. The 1982 photo also reveals that the front step balustrade has been simplified.


Thomas (1865-1935) was born in Halifax, NS, to Joseph and Rebecca McLaughlin (1342 Pandora Av, Fernwood); they came to Victoria by 1881. He attended the Technical School for Carriage Draughtsmen & Mechanics in New York, then returned to Victoria and in 1890 he began building carriages for the City Fire Department. In 1893 Tom married Margaret Burke from Goshen, NY, and in 1895 became a Canadian Pacific Navigation Co night clerk on the Victoria-Vancouver run. When the CPR took over CPNC, Tom became a clerk on the HBC wharf in the Inner Harbour. From 1901-10, he worked along the West Coast, then transferred to the Alaska run as a purser on the Princess May and Princess Sophia. From 1914-31 he was a head purser with the Princess line on the Adelaide, Victoria, Charlotte, Kathleen, Joan, and Marguerite, between Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle. Margaret sold the house, and died in 1942.


In the late-1930s, newly-weds Campbell and Ada (Jewsbury) Smith lived here. Campbell (1895-1969) was born in Cork, Ireland, Ada (1902-1974) in Leicester, England; they came to Victoria in 1912 and 1906. Campbell was active in local sports and the Victoria Fire Department. He was in the army during WWI, and Rocky Mountain Rangers in WWII, setting up Farm Labour Service. A member of the BPOE and automotive groups, he was a salesman with Wilson & Cabeldu, then Ensign Motors until 1967.

By 1951 Douglas (1905-1964) and Violet (Jenner) Spencer lived here. Douglas, born in Leicestershire, England, came to Canada in 1925. He and Violet moved to Victoria from Regina, SK, in 1946. Douglas worked for the Royal Bank of Canada for 37 years, retiring in 1962. He served during WWII with the Regina Rifles, who, with other Canadian Divisions, took Juno Beach in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion and Colwood Golf Club.

In 1952 Morgan and Myrtle (Pottinger) Hirst bought the house. Morgan (1895-1973) was a member of the first pioneer family of Parksville on Vancouver Island, Myrtle (1899-1988) grew up in 634 Battery St (James Bay). She taught in Parksville where she met Morgan and then at Strawberry Vale School from the time younger daughter Judy (Bergbusch) was in grade 12. Morgan worked for BC Forest Products until retirement. Daughter Ann Hatcher inherited the house and sold it c.1990.

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